My First Time Away from Home

A Reblog | Steph’s Shenanigans <>Up until I was 23, I lived at home with my parents.  I was sitting comfortably in a rent-free home with all the food I can ask for.  I was going to school and working part-time.  All the money I made from my job was to pay for my cell phone bill, going out, and buying crap food that was terrible for me.

Throughout most of high school and pretty much all of my undergrad, I lived off of chicken fingers that were pre-cooked, packaged, and frozen: with a side of sweet and spicy Thai sauce, of course.

Because of the inconsistent schedule of university and working nights, I was on my own for a lot of meals.  Mom started to give up when she was making two different dinner dishes a night to accommodate my picky eating habits.  But in all fairness, it got to a point where a lot of what we were eating at home was a lot of the same meals and unhealthy ones at that.  There was a lot of fried meat, potatoes, and homemade French fries.  Of course, the logical conclusion I came up with in my late teens to early twenties was to just either eat those chicken fingers, warm up frozen pizza, or go out and buy fast food.

When I started to hang out with my friend Chris, those habits just got worse.  We were studying hard (at this point I was in teacher’s college), working part-time jobs, and having really late nights.  We would order from KFC and have them deliver to us, go to McDonald’s late at night, heat up all sorts of frozen, pre-packaged foods, and more.

After teacher’s college, I decided to try and find a job away from the GTA and I moved to Ottawa with my fiancée, also named Chris.  Mom’s main concern? I was either going to starve to death or I’d be wasting all my money on junk food and eating out.

Just to give you some clarity, my “cooking skills” consisted of making killer scrabbled eggs and putting food in a toaster oven and forgetting about it until I heard the timer’s chime.  I tried making an orange chicken once with my mom under heavy supervision.  That was when I felt like I had a lot of time on my hands.  ONCE.  I always avoided cooking because it took too much time and effort, ingredients we didn’t have in the house, and it took me away from my all-important TV-video games-internet I had set up in my room.  Cooking is boring.  Sure, I was always vocal about my disappointed about what was on the menu, but I never did anything about it because I was still able to get by.  Mom’s super foreign and European attitude was to always make sure your family ate, so I knew I wouldn’t go hungry.  Because I was the last child to leave home, I was able to be a brat and get away with it.  Mom was, mostly, accommodating.

Mom and pretty much everyone who knew me was convinced I was done for.  Moving away from mom’s cooking, starting to pay for rent and other bills, meant the end of this spoiled child.  As the years leading up to my departure went by, I told everyone (and was convinced myself) that once I was thrown into a situation that I was unfamiliar with, that I would successfully adapt and figure it out.  No one really believed that I would change overnight and decide to start cooking, something I had always loathed.  Why cook? Spending hundreds of dollars at the grocery store in one shot, when it’s just a $7 snack here and $15 meal there.

Well, I moved.  Luckily I had Chris with me and I got away with not cooking for a few months.  We compromised.  He cooked and I would do the dishes.  I did laundry and he would fold the clothes.  It was sweet, sweet living.  Then we moved out of our first apartment and into a house with a dishwasher.  The compromising was over. I had no leverage.  We were still doing a lot of frozen pizzas, chicken fingers, and the sort, but once our schedules became a little more stable, we started to explore the kitchen.

I was now forced to help cook. I started demanding healthier meals and Chris was just not as lenient as mom.  So I started to take over our side dishes…

* This is just an introduction to my blog.  My posts won’t be this long again.  I just wanted to give a little bit of background as to why it’s important for me to keep a record of how I start to mature as a cook.  Expect to see photos of some meals I’m proud of, meals by others, ideas, tip and tricks, etc.  I don’t know what will come up on this post, but just believe it will be about food, somehow.



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